IBM Opens Green Data Center in Boulder

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IBM today officially opened a major expansion of its data center in Boulder, Colorado, which the company is calling its “greenest data center in North America.” The 115,000 square-foot expansion includes 70,000 square feet of raised floor space and is part of Big Blue’s $350 million investment in Boulder, which is now IBM’s largest data center in the world at more than 300,000 square feet.

The new data center features many technologies developed as part of IBM’s Big Green energy efficiency program. These include:

  • The center is partially powered by alternative energy sources, with more than 1 million kilowatt hours per year of wind-powered electricity being purchased, resulting in a planned reduction of approximately two million pounds of carbon dioxide produced per year.
  • Both air- and water-cooling technologies are supported.
  • The facility can switch to free or pre-cooling, using a water economizer to reduce energy consumption nine months out of the year.
  • The Boulder site uses variable-speed pumps and motors installed in cooling systems to balance capacity to actual load, further reducing energy usage and costs.


“This new green data center reflects IBM’s leadership in finding innovative and environmentally responsible ways to meet our clients’ needs, as well as our own,” said Larry Longseth, IBM Colorado senior state executive and IBM Boulder senior location executive. “Boulder is one of the corporation’s premier data center locations, and it is strategically positioned to help IBM meet its commitment to maintain its data centers at the highest level of energy efficiency.”

To build the new data center, IBM retrofitted an existing office building on the Boulder campus. It reused 98 percent of the original building’s shell, recycled 65 percent of the materials from the original building, and 25 percent of newly purchased material came from recycled products.

With the strong focus on design and energy efficiency, Boulder qualified for training incentives from the state of Colorado, investment initiatives from the city of Boulder, and rebates from local provider Xcel Energy.

The expanded data center became fully operational and began boarding clients in May 2008. IBM announced the Boulder expansion in June 2007, saying the project would be supported by a $480 million, five-year agreement with a “major new U.S. customer account.” Last year the Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) announced a five-year agreement to outsource its data center operations to IBM. In December the Hartford announced plans to have IBM build the company a major backup data center in Boulder.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.